Lawyers should not ignore new artificial intelligence tools such as Harvey

While ChatGPT is of interest, there are many other AI tools designed specifically for legal practice

Lawyers should not ignore new artificial intelligence tools such as Harvey
Monica Goyal

So tell me about Harvey.

Everyone has been talking about ChatGPT, or Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer, a generative artificial intelligence (AI) tool, developed by OpenAI on their open-access GPT technology. ChatGPT is a chatbot tool providing a conversational interface allowing questions in natural language.

Recently, GPT version 4 was released. As reported on CNN, GPT passed the bar exam in the top 10 percent of test takers. Despite the buzz, ChatGPT is just one of many AI tools developed with GPT technologies. Even before the launch of ChatGPT, our firm was aware of how powerful the technology would be, as we trialled several tools built on GPT. I wrote about how ChatGPT will affect the law in February 2023.

I have now tried a myriad of tools on the market (listed below), many of which are promising. Though it’s still early days for the software, I predict that as the tools mature, they will be significantly better. We lawyers will not be able to ignore them.

At Caravel Law, we had the privilege of being early beta users for a software called Harvey. Harvey, built on OpenAI and ChatGPT technology, is backed by the OpenAI startup fund, which has received $5 million in funding. This startup of about five people living in an Airbnb in Silicon Valley (yes, I know this sounds like the plot line for the show Silicon Valley) has built one of the best GPT tools I have tested in legal tech.

Harvey advertises itself as a legal assistant and operates on an interface similar to ChatGPT, allowing you to ask open-ended questions. It also provides an option to generate a research memo and an outline. Unlike ChatGPT (even ChatGPT-4), Harvey does a much better job around legal-specific questions. You can ask Harvey to draft a clause for a contract or prepare legal memos. I have even asked it to draft a statement of defence and a motion for summary judgment for liquidated damages. It does a surprisingly good job in these cases. However, Harvey does have its limits.

Ultimately, we cannot substitute human judgment for a computer. These tools may provide a first draft, inspiration, or insights that could be used in a final deliverable for a client. Though it could draft a simple lease agreement, it would not be able to draft, for example, a more extensive 40-page commercial lease agreement.

While I tested the technology, I wondered how Harvey would do around Canadian law, considering Americans developed it. To our surprise at Caravel Law, Harvey does a surprisingly good job. The capabilities are undeniably impressive, and some lawyers at our firm were amazed by Harvey’s skills, while others described it as “eerie.”

There are a few potential issues with generative AI tools like GPT. One challenge is that they often rely on past information to generate or “predict” the appropriate response for the question or task you request. In essence, it is making an educated guess on the answer.

According to OpenAI, GPT suffers from social biases, hallucinations, and adversarial prompts. Hallucinations are where the software makes up events or facts. In the legal context, the software could make up legal cases or details about what the case stood for. It would be problematic if a legal memo included the wrong legal case citation. Within the brief period that I’ve been beta testing the tool, I’ve seen an improvement in the frequency of hallucinations. However, this is something that any lawyer will need to assess for themselves when they are evaluating GPT technologies.

Some people have argued that GPT technologies are a fleeting interest and that many legal technologies in the market have had little impact in changing how lawyers do their work. I disagree. This technology will speed up the adoption of legal technology in law firms, and I can tell you that Harvey is a promising technology. It has garnered much interest, including from both Allen & Overy and PWC, which have announced partnerships with the AI company. In both instances, the firms intended to make the tool available to all their professional legal staff. PWC described the software as a game-changing AI platform.

If you are looking for legal technologies built on GPT or leverage it in their software offering, see the list below (the complete list can be found at Legaltech Hub):

  • Summarizing software: Summize (contract summaries), Docket Alarm (summarize dockets), and Predictice (court decision summaries)
  • Drafting and contract tools: DocDraft (turn client notes into drafts), Spellbook (contract summary and contract clause drafting), Henchman (specific contract drafting), and Ironclad (contract clause)
  • Contracting: Ironclad, Lexion, Contract Work, AxDraft, Arteria, and Malbek
  • Legal Research: Jurisage, Lexata, BlueJLegal, Alexsei, and ScotusAI
  • Classification/Tagging: Fastcase and SALI Alliance
  • Search or Knowledge Management: Standd
  • Virtual Assistant: CaseText, LawDroid, and Harvey

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